A certain type of N95 mask may do more harm than good, health authorities warn.
With the pandemic spread worldwide, people are trying to protect themselves from getting infected using face masks as a primary precautionary measure along with social distancing. Masks are supposed to keep people safe from getting infected through air or breath, but now health officials have warned against using a specific range of masks.
Officials say that masks with one valve can cause harm instead of good. “The ones with the valves or openings on the front are NOT safe, and may actually propel your germs further,” says the San Francisco Department of Public Health. “Valves of that type permit droplet release from the mask, putting others at risk,” the department’s social media source added.
A one-way valve can only protect the person wearing it. The people around, are not safe. Health authorities advised people not to use these types of masks to avoid the expected harms.
“If you don’t have anything filtering what’s going out, it’s kind of like your mouth is an open-air exhaust. And that’s the danger,” Jessica Malaty Rivera, MS, a microbiologist and contributor at the COVID-19 Tracking Project.
As these masks can only save ones’ self, it can’t be used in public because it is a danger for others. This mask should only be used by doctors as it has an ability to filter 95 percent of small particles coming from outside.
“These masks are designed for situations in which the wearers need to protect themselves but aren’t at risk of transmitting infection to others,” Raja said. “The valves make breathing more comfortable and the masks less hot and humid for the wearer.” said Dr. Ali Raja, executive vice chair of the department of emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.
These masks can be used by doctors and the medical staff while treating the coronavirus patients or interacting with the suspected affectees. The First Responder can use these masks but general public should avoid using this type of masks.
As the masks which can be used are in very less amount and are expensive, health experts are suggesting to make masks at home. HEPA filters, vacuum cleaner bags can be used to make masks at home. These materials not only protect you but they also prevent the virus to spread
Simple clothe can also be useful as it prevents the virus from spreading if any person has silent infection, a study suggests, but you should be careful in selecting the material as some stuff like household filters could be made of things like fiberglass and other things which are not safe to breath.
US is lacking personnel protection equipment for health workers to combat the coronavirus. More than two dozen health worker died in the war against the pandemic. People should show responsibility and should use the recommended masks and other equipment which is used to stay safe.